2014 – 2015
The EU REDD Facility has contributed to the development of an improved model for sharing benefits from REDD+ in the Republic of the Congo. The model draws on experiences from the country’s existing local development funds.
By analysing existing benefit-sharing models in different sectors in the Republic of the Congo, engaging with stakeholders, providing technical assistance and building capacity, this project has supported the development of a mechanism for rewarding forest-friendly behaviour and providing local communities with benefits from REDD+ funds.
Benefit sharing is a key component of any REDD+ mechanisms because it rewards good performance and forest-friendly behaviour. The main objective of the project was to explore options for sharing benefits from REDD+ that build on existing benefit-sharing schemes in the country rather than introducing a new or parallel system. In the Republic of Congo, local development funds in the forest sector are among the most advanced benefit-sharing mechanisms to draw from.
The work was aimed at informing national and international policy makers working on REDD+, as well as bilateral and multilateral projects such as the Forests and Economic Diversification Project (PFDE), Support Project for Sustainable Management of Forests in Republic of the Congo (PAGEF), Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and UN-REDD.
Local community development, funded by revenues from forestry or payments for ecosystem services, is fundamental to the success of FLEGT and REDD+. The Republic of the Congo has laws and arrangements for sharing benefits in several sectors, and considerable experience in sharing benefits in the forestry sector. The social clauses in forest concession contracts and the legal requirement to provide local development funds for financing small socioeconomic projects oblige forest concession holders to contribute to local development.
However, the management of local development funds is not always effective, and local communities do not always benefit from micro-projects. In the forest sector, the lack of legal guidance provided by the Forest Code means that local development funds set their own rules and regulations. Because of these difficulties and inefficiencies, concession holders are cautious to invest time and resources in the funds. This means that concession holders fail to comply with the legal obligations and FLEGT VPA legality requirements, and that funding for local development is inadequate. Also, existing local development funds simply compensate communities for restricted access to forest resources, rather than encourage stakeholders to participate in forest-friendly efforts and reward good performance as envisaged through REDD+.
Stronger governance of local development funds and greater capacity among local beneficiaries will help the Republic of the Congo build an effective, efficient and equitable benefit-sharing system for forestry that responds to local needs, is effectively organised and rewards performance. This in turn will provide valuable lessons and good practices to develop benefit-sharing mechanisms for other revenue streams from REDD+ and payments for environmental services programmes.
The National REDD+ Strategy will outline the principles and building blocks for a robust REDD+ benefit-sharing system. The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Emissions Reduction Programme provides an opportunity to test the system.
Local community of the Republic of the Congo
The project examined and drew on existing institutions and models for sharing benefits in the Republic of the Congo. Activities included: